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Fox News Sued For Unlawful Retaliation

New York-based Fox News Network LLC, which owns and operates the Fox News Channel based in Washington, D.C., retaliated against news reporter Catherine Herridge after she complained to Fox that she was subjected to disparate pay and unequal employment opportunities because of her gender and age, according to a recently filed lawsuit.

According to the EEOC's complaint, during 2007 Herridge made several complaints to management officials at Fox News about employment practices that she believed were discriminatory. Fox conducted an investigation into Herridge's allegations beginning around December 2007, but notified Herridge that no evidence of age and sex discrimination had been found.  

In 2008, Fox News included language in Herridge's employment contract, which was set for renewal, that referenced Herridge's discrimination complaints and was intended to stop Herridge from making more of them in the future, the EEOC charged.  Herridge refused to sign the employment contract until the language was removed. Thereafter, Fox refused to negotiate further with Herridge, would not respond to counteroffers as to substantive issues in the proposed contract, and ceased speaking to her agent or to her about her contract.

As a result of Fox's refusal to proceed with a new employment contract absent the retaliatory language, Herridge became an "at-will" employee without any job protections, causing her considerable stress, the EEOC alleged.  It was only after Herridge filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC, and an EEOC investigator conducted an on-site investigation, that Fox agreed to take out the retaliatory language and presented Herridge with a new contract with the retaliatory language removed, in June 2009 which she signed.

Retaliation against an employee for making a discrimination complaint violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). 

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